Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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953 words

Everybody knows it: We're going to have a war soon. Started by the chimp in charge of running the USA with the mind of a three-year-old. The only thing to be sure of is that three-year-olds will try out all the toys you give them, be it matchbox cars, smart missiles or nuclear weapons. And of course there's no need to consider that millions of US citizens and billions of other people in the world don't particularly like the idea. In particular the US people's voice should be heard - as they will probably have to foot most of the substantial bill this little stint already cost and will cost. [Of course the cynical among us might interject here that Dubja doesn't have to carry the burden of having the responsibilities of an elected leader, making this behaviour quite natural.]

Still, giving the benefit of the doubt – let's imagine that three-year-olds can't be really evil but they're just stupid inexperienced. And this particular three-year-old genuinely believes that bombing the crap out of Iraq will make the wold a safer place. Would someone please tell him that this outcome is highly unlikely?

Saddam Hussein is another player in this game. He is a dictator and there may actually be reasons to take him out. But making the world or the US a safer place isn't one of them – that looks pretty much like phoney rethoric. If the US – or better the UN – came up with plans to fight dictators around the world who are suppressing their people, much fewer people would object. And much more effort would have to be put into this of course.

Another thing about Hussein is that he's smart – both in playing with the world public and in using the media. Even in the times of highly censored media (which makes me feel uneasy at times), I have yet to see a bad photo of Saddam Hussein. Even the in the old photos from the 1970s he's always looking smart and friendly. And it's like that in every photo – the guy looks smart, well-dressed in western clothes, smiling, sometimes with a hunting rifle, sometimes with a little kid in his arms. Exactly like conservative people would like their perfect son-in-law to be. It's not as easy to demonise him as it was with the bearded caveman Bin Ladin who is wearing old rags and carrying proper military weapons.

Add in the North Koreans to this game with their weapons and nuclear plans and little, poor countries made the 'only remaining superpower' look like a fool just by virtue of some carefully choreographed public statements. Equally, many of the anti-war countries were made look like fools by giving the impression that they are actually pro-Hussein when the main focus is being against an unjustified war.

Which brings up the topic of the current relationship between the US and the rest of the world – Old Europe and Germany in particular. To me it seems that – despite what our diplomats say – with their current government: Make no mistake, the US are no friends of ours.

Why I came to this conclusion? Just consider how friends behave: They don't lie to you and they're open to your doubts and ready to negotiate. They are actually interested in you. Also, they don't insult you and can be expected to live up to their commitments. At least that's true for my friends.

Add to that the utter failing of diplomacy. I think it all started to go wrong when Mr. Bush (junior) didn't congratulate Mr. Schröder for his election victory because he was sulking. Another thing that's perfectly acceptable for three-year-olds but very unconventional in the world of international relations where send these congratulatory telegrams is just a done thing – a way of letting people know that you acknowledge they've come into/stayed in government. It doesn't mean you like them, it just means you'll deal with it. A criminal media mogul starts to run Italy? Send a telegram, he's been elected after all. A war criminal running Israel? Another telegram, he got elected after all. A neo-nazi running Austria? Uh-oh, will have to send telegram... A three-year-old dodging his way into the White House? He hasn't been elected, but - yeah – we'll deal with it let's send a telegram, perhaps one of the cartoon editions.

Since, the situation became worse and worse. Reading the this morning left me with the uneasy feeling that everybody has gone nuts. Countries change their opinion on how much they're in favour or against having a war. Countries, like Turkey, are under pressure to like having a war although they don't. There are plans and statements coming and going by the Germans, the French, the Belgians, the Russians, the US – and everybody else. The US embassy in Germany tells their citizens living here that they should be prepared to leave the country at short notice – suggesting that things are becoming dangerous.

To me all this looks insane. It doesn't make much sense. It's very hard to keep track of – and probably as irrelevant. I have to get it out of my mind, that's why I'm writing incoherent rants, I guess.

A few weeks ago I read an article calling Schröder a Peacemonger, which definitely isn't the trait I'd associate with him first. The article has links to two interesting articles on Anti-Americanism in Europe and Anti-Europeanism in America. They suggest that the people still get along rather well – it's just the so-called élites who're going nuts. That's a reassuring thing to know – but not reassuring enough for my taste.

February 10, 2003, 22:27

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